It brings in over 300 Trinidadians into the island for Spicemas every year and this year was no different but organiser, Aton Allen said The Paria Bullet ferry service is not a profitable business.
Just over a week ago, The Paria Bullet brought hundreds of Trini revelers and media personnel to partake in Spicemas 2015.
Speaking to reporters at the Cruise Ship Terminal at Burns Point, St. George, Allen said he is not sure whether he will be able to make the trip in 2016.
He and his business partner, Bobby Steele, a strong supporter of the ruling New National Party (NNP) government, said the reason for coming to Grenada every year had to do more with “passion” than anything else.
The Trinidad national said in the first year of the service a total of $175,000 was lost and four years later they are still trying to recuperate from that bad experience.
According to Allen, he would like to see a little concession given to them as all the cash that is needed to berth the ferry in Grenada every year comes from their own pockets.
He disclosed that approximately $400,000 is spent every year to make the trip to the Spice Isle a success.
“My business partner, Robert (Bobby Steele), he is on this side having the entertainment for the party goers to enjoy themselves. My business partner (in Trinidad), she is over there helping me one and one to fill the boat, to fill the vessel, bring the media, all the logistics. She is a gem but at the end of the day, the cash we put out as a group is phenomenal and we don’t get any help from anybody,” he told reporters.
Allen said his outfit has gotten some kind of indication that concessions are on the way but was quick to add that they are still waiting on the one due in 2013.
“You know we keep on doing it every year. I am not too sure about next year. I’m gonna put it on record, I’m not too sure what’s going to happen next year because if it keeps on like this, I can’t do it again,” he remarked.
The businessman pointed out that all they are asking for is support and once it is given, two ferries will travel each year to Grenada with revelers for the annual Spicemas.
“I will be bringing up 600 people and Robert could tell you, each person probably spends $2000 a week. That’s 600 by $2000 a week, every time we hit the shores here, you know because once this boat hits the shores here, it’s nothing in our pockets anymore, it’s everything Grenadian”, he said.
Allen alluded to the spin-offs for local businesses with the influx of visitors from neighbouring Trinidad &Tobago.
“…They buy, they sleep, they eat, they party, services rendered, taxi service, water taxi, a whole lot of income just pouring in and we don’t benefit – we just bring them but we wish we could have a little concession or a little more partnership,” he said.
The cash-strapped NNP administration of Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell has been forced to reign in on expenditure due to its 3-year Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) in association with the Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Allen identified one of the things “that kill them” in coming to Grenada is the high cost of fuel and if help is given in that particular area then it would help to lessen the burden in other areas.
He said: “It’s hard to say just fuel (costs) but if you put things in place that we don’t have to spend money on certain things then we’ll do it (continue with the annual trip, (get) help …with advertising, or put out in such a way that we don’t have to spend money on advertising because when we come here we have certain docking fees and stuff like that – all these things (are) an expense”.
Allen thanked the Grenadian by Rex Resort for assisting them with thousands of dollars every year in advertisements in order to keep the business rolling.